For British Rail, the 1970s was a time of contrasts, when bad jokes about sandwiches and pork pies often veiled real achievement, like increasing computerisation and the arrival of the high-speed Inter-City 125s. But while television advertisements told of an 'Age of the Train', Monday morning misery remained for many, the commuter experience steadily worsening as rolling stock aged and grew ever more uncomfortable. Yet when BR launched new electrification schemes and introduced new suburban trains in the 80s, focus fell on the problems that beset the Advanced Passenger Train, whose ignominious end came under the full media glare. In British Rail in the 1970s and '80s, Greg Morse takes us through a world of Traveller's Fare, concrete concourses and peak-capped porters, a difficult period, which began with the aftershock of Beeching and ended with BR becoming the first nationalized passenger network in the world to make a profit.
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About the Author
Greg Morse was instilled with a love of trains at an early age, has written many articles on railway history, and is privileged to work within the industry he loves as an Operational Safety Specialist. He has also written John Betjeman and British Railways in the 1950s and '60s for Shire.
Read an Excerpt
British Railways – the butt of many jokes – was formed in 1948, when the Great Western, London Midland & Scottish, London & North Eastern and Southern Railways were taken into public ownership, together with fifty smaller concerns. It was originally divided into six regions, controlled by the Railway Executive – one of five that answered to the British Transport Commission, which had been established to provide a “properly integrated system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain”. The Railway Executive inherited over 20,000 locomotives, 56,000 coaches, a million wagons, 43,000 road vehicles, 650,000 members of staff and nearly 9,000 horses. Much of the rolling stock – and the track on which it ran – was in poor condition, having been heavily used and lightly maintained during the Second World War.
Table of Contents
Introduction / The Quest for Passengers / The Network Spreads / Age of the Train? / Serpell, Strikes and Sectorisation / Towards the 1990s / Places to Visit / Further Reading and Viewing / Index